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Apple, Environmental NGOs Discuss China Pollution

Oriental Morning Post, 11/04/11

On October 31, Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPEA), a Chinese NGO, met with Linda Greer, director of the US National Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) public health program, and representatives of Apple's operations, government relations, and China supply chain management at Apple's Cupertino headquarters for a five-hour discussion. According to Ma, Apple representatives committed to increasing the transparency of their supply chain - a change from the company's tradition of not revealing its suppliers.

On January 20 of this year, a group of Chinese environmental NGOs including the IPEA, Friends of Nature, and the Green Beagle Environmental Institute published a report entitled "The Other Side of Apple" highlighting pollution and environmental damage caused by Apple's supply chain. Apple did not respond to the allegations of criminal violations of environmental laws by its suppliers. On August 31, Friends of Nature and the IPEA, along with other environmental groups, released "The Other Side of Apple II: Pollution Spreads Through Apple's Supply Chain." In the two reports, environmental groups identified 27 companies involved in Apple's supply chain who were suspected of contributing to pollution.

Ma noted Apple's shift from ignoring the reports to approaching environmental groups for talks, but said that over the past several months of talks, Apple had required him to "just give a one-line summary" when commenting to media. The company stated no such requirement following the latest round of talks.

According to Ma, the October 31 talks revolved around the issue of whether or not one company had contributed to heavy-metal pollution in lake silt. The company in question called Ma early that morning to say that it would clean up the lake silt. "The talks remained contentious and we didn't reach a consensus that day," Ma said. "I don't know whether or not Apple directed the company to call, but the timing of the call suggests they did."

Ma said that the IPEA, Green Beagle, and Nanjing-based Green-Stone Environment Action Network, among other NGOs, would likely meet again with Apple in China this month for further discussion.

Keywords: Linda Greer Ma Jun hardware NGO Apple SCM environmental protection wireless computer handset


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